Tips to Getting Car Insurance for Teenagers

Tamsen Butler
Teens have a higher probability of accidents.

Car insurance for teenagers can be downright expensive, but the cost can be decreased substantially by taking advantage of discounts available through most insurance providers.

Absolutely Necessary

Parents may wonder if it is absolutely necessary to obtain car insurance for teenagers, especially after getting a few quotes and getting shocked by the monthly costs associated with this coverage.

Adequate auto insurance coverage for teenagers is a good idea for a few reasons, but the two top reasons are quite important.

  • Legal Requirements: Insurance coverage is legally required in most states. This means that a teen who does not have car insurance, and who cannot furnish proof either when pulled over by police or when involved in an accident, can face potentially harsh penalties. Teens may wind up with costly fines or with a suspended license, or both.
  • Financial Considerations: Teenagers are statistically more likely to be involved in automobile collisions. For this reason, it is vital for teen drivers to have sufficient car insurance coverage. The likelihood of any teen driver winding up in a car crash -severe or otherwise- is elevated beyond that of an experienced driver, so not obtaining insurance coverage can be a huge mistake and may potentially put your family's finances at risk.

Keep in mind that if a teenager gets into a car accident and does not have adequate insurance coverage, the parents may be legally responsible to pay all the costs associated with the accident including repair costs, medical bills and legal fees for the other people involved in the collision.

Find the Best Car Insurance for Teenagers

Not all car insurance companies cater to teens. Additionally, some companies will not provide policy quotes to drivers who are under the age of 18. Instead, the quote request must come from a parent or guardian.

Here is a brief list of some of the large car insurance companies that provide coverage to teenagers:

Most of the larger insurance companies have auto policies available for teenagers, but as most parents quickly realize, the costs can be much higher than policies for adults.

Getting Insurance for Teens

Usually the best place for parents to start looking for car insurance for teenagers is with their existing insurer. Adding a teen on to an existing auto insurance policy can save money over buying a policy through a new company. Not all parents want to have auto insurance policies combined, however, especially when the teen is covering the cost of the policy and wants to keep it separate for whatever reason.

Comparison shopping is vital. Some insurance companies offer discounts that are not available through other insurers, especially discounts that are a result of an association affiliation. For example, members of certain credit unions can receive substantial discounts on car insurance through select providers, translating into noticeable savings even when insuring a teenager.

Get Further Discounts

When applying for car insurance for your teenager, take advantage of any available discounts. It will be easier to receive discounts if you have this information available when first attempting to obtain a quote for monthly premiums:

  • Full information regarding the car that will be driven by the teen, including:
    • Make and model
    • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
    • Any special safety features on the vehicle
    • Any special anti-theft features on the vehicle
  • Information regarding teen's driving history
    • History of accidents or tickets
    • Information regarding completed driver safety courses
  • Additional information that may result in a discount
    • Teen's grade point average (GPA) for a good student discount
    • Planned use of the vehicle for a potential low miles discount
    • Any organization affiliation that may offer discounts, such as credit union membership

Age and Experience

With age and experience will probably come a drop in rates, so a policy for a 16 year old with a new license may be more expensive than a policy for an eighteen year old with a clean driving record for the past two years.

While car insurance for teens can be expensive, it is certainly less costly that allowing a teen to drive without adequate coverage.

Tips to Lower Premiums

There are a few things parents and teens can do in effort to lower car insurance premiums.

  • Set a good example: Encourage your teen to follow street laws, speed limits and safety precautions. Teens adapt their driving habits from watching their parents. Do you run yellow lights? Do you frequently pass in the turning lane? All of these observations can affect your teen's perception on how to drive. Keep your family safe by leading your pack with a strict set of safety standards.
  • Teenage curfew: Many states mandate a teenage curfew. Know the law and make sure your teen is never in violation.
  • Multiple discount: Add your teen to your pre-existing automobile policy. It costs less to insure a teen by adding them to your own policy rather than seeking out their own coverage. By including them in a pre-existing policy, you're likely to reap the multiple policy discount rewards often by insurance companies. For more discounts, consider combining your home, auto and life insurance under one umbrella policy.
  • Hit the books: Auto insurance rates for teens frequently depend on their grade point average, or GPA. The higher school grades your teen earns, the less their auto policy premium will be. A rate of 3.0 or higher frequently decreases premiums by ten percent. Not bad, considering a higher GPA will also earn them a potential scholarship or entrance into the higher education facility of their choice.
  • Drivers education courses: Insurance companies favor teens that have completed an extensive drivers education course through their school or community college. Many states mandate this education course, while others do not. Find out which insurance companies offer these discounts and then find out which school courses are accepted for the discount. Determine if the cost of the program outweighs the benefit of the discount, often the courses can be costly.
  • Sports cars: It's not entirely likely that the average teen will get their pick of their first automobile, but for those that do, steer clear of sports cars. A safe car with the newest safety protection devices will actually lower premiums.
  • Drop tops: Convertible cars, along with pick up trucks are costly automobiles for teens to drive. Instead, consider a family sedan (four door) car with high safety ratings. Not only will your child be safer behind the wheel, the premium will be much less, not to mention the gas expense for filling up a four-wheel drive pick up.
  • Drinking and driving: Number one on a parental nightmare level, drinking and driving is not only life threatening, but skyrockets automobile rates. Set up a plan for dealing with this situation. Teens need to be taught that no matter what they've done, they should be able to call home and get a safe ride before they ever step foot into a car as a driver after drinking. In addition, teens should also be taught to avoid riding as a passenger with a driver who is intoxicated.
Tips to Getting Car Insurance for Teenagers